- The Last of Us 2 Remastered makes the franchise stand out in a surprising way, as it now has more re-releases than original games.
- The Last of Us franchise has become known for its re-releases, and while remasters and remakes have always existed in gaming, having less original games than remakes and remasters is a surprising statistic.
- Had The Last of Us Factions’ spin-off released, the number would have at least been evened out, but its cancelation means that fans will be waiting until TLoU 3 to see that happen – and even then that game could be remasterd years after its release as well.
With the recent release of The Last of Us 2 Remastered, the Naughty Dog franchise’s community has been met with controversy once again. There’s been a similar mixed reaction among fans in a way reminiscent of the original’s 2022 remake, but there are still players who see this recent upgrade as a worthwhile purchase. The decision to revisit an existing game once again after less than four total years since its initial launch made The Last of Us 2 Remastered a title that has set its series apart in a way that few others have matched.
Its title and marketing have given the impression of a further technical enhancement than some players expected from TLOU2 Remastered, but it seems that the game primarily makes up for this with new features. The frame rate might be stuck at the original 30FPS when utilizing the remaster’s visual improvements, but there’s hardly much of a change to the feeling of the game to set it apart as much more than a solid PS5 port. The inclusion of TLOU 2‘s No Return roguelike-type mode is the main component that is likely to justify the remaster’s existence to fans, and the game’s presence means that the franchise’s original games have now become outnumbered by re-releases.
What to Expect from The Last of Us Franchise in 2024
The Last of Us’ franchise has had success lately thanks to its live-action adaptation, but 2024 once more looks relatively somber on the gaming side.
The Last of Us’ Reputation for Re-Releases
Multiple Generations of TLOU1
There’s been discussion about the validity of the series’ latest remaster since its announcement, but controversy surrounding Naughty Dog’s handling of TLOU in this way is nothing new. When the original TLOU was remastered back in 2014, it was mainly an understandable port to the next generation PS4 at the time. When The Last of Us’ Remake in 2022 came out as a full-price title, however, a general sense of concern grew around whether purchasing the same exact game again was worth the investment.
TLOU2 and the Latest in Series Controversy
A sense of skepticism seems to have followed the developer into the discourse surrounding The Last of Us 2 Remastered, but this situation is still different from the previous re-releases of the series. This update to TLOU2 may not bring a major improvement to the game’s existing presentation, but the fact that it’s priced at a small fraction of a full-priced title for owners of the original TLOU2 makes it more of a DLC-esque package. The caveats around the requirements for this reduced price upgrade firmly establish this remaster as its own unique release instead of a mere expansion.
Remasters and Remakes Have Changed Over Time
Re-Releases are Nothing New to Gaming
They caught on as something of a trend during the eighth console generation of the 2010s, the concept of re-releasing improved versions of existing titles has been around since the early days of gaming. Historically, these early remasters, and sometimes remakes, have primarily served to bring games to a new console, acting as glorified ports enhanced by better technology. Franchises like Final Fantasy‘s remasters and remakes have become highly ubiquitous, with so many new versions of previous releases that it can be hard to keep track of them. This might seem confusing, but these releases have mainly functioned as bridges to different consoles over time. Looking at the multitude of versions of titles like Street Fighter 2 shows that re-releases have always been able to come quickly, but changes to the industry have led to modern games taking a more controversial approach.
TLOU’s Place in the Modern Remaster Trend
Criticism of TLOU2 Remastered’s existence follows similar feelings many gamers have expressed about situations like the multiple remasters of GTA 5 across three generations, with what are essentially updates being marketed as full-fledged releases. No Return mode shows some of what the seemingly cancelled TLOU multiplayer spin-off could have brought through its multiple playable characters, but it ultimately doesn’t warrant being considered its own separate release in the eyes of some players. There’s even been discussion among fans agreeing that TLOU 2’s Remaster should have been labelled similarly to Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut instead, but the game’s official status has actually set an unexpected record.
The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered Has a Controversial Caveat in Its Accessibility Features
The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered’s No Return has wonderful accessibility options, though there is controversy regarding how they can be exploited.
The Last of Us Now Has More Re-Releases Than Official Games
The Result of TLOU’s Late Place in PlayStation Generations
There are franchises with far more games that have been remastered and remade overall, but The Last of Us has found itself in a unique position due to only really being composed of two games. Between the two remasters and a remake outside the primary duology, TLOU has become characterized by repeated iterations on the same core that might make it Naughty Dog’s least exciting IP. This could mainly be due to both titles having been released at the end of the lifespans of their respective consoles, making it only natural that they would have to adapt to the upcoming next generation both times.
The Last of Us
The Last of Us Remastered
The Last of Us Part 2
The Last of Us Part 1 (Remake)
The Last of Us Part 2 Remastered
TLOU’s Multiplayer Spin-Off Could Have Rounded Out the Series
Following building anticipation for an online multiplayer title focused on The Last of Us‘ Factions-style gameplay, Naughty Dog ended up officially announcing the spin-off’s cancellation back in December. This would not only have been a novel concept for a franchise that has always been heavily story-centric and linear, but could have even addressed the disparity in re-releases and original titles that TLOU has experienced. A full Factions game could have at least evened this number out sometime after TLOU2 Remastered‘s recent launch, but Naughty Dog seems to have avoided the resource expenditure involved with running a title in a genre that requires so much ongoing support. It’s still unknown if a potential The Last of Us Part 3 will come to PS5, but it probably won’t be surprising to see a remaster of even that game years after it debuts if it does happen.
The Last Of Us Part II Remastered
- The Last of Us
- January 19, 2024
- Sony Interactive Entertainment
- M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Use of Drugs